PANAMA CITY, Panama, July 09, 2007 – After weeks of anticipation, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) officially began reviewing bids for the first construction project under the Canal’s expansion program on last Friday, July 6. Submissions to perform the dry excavation of the new Pacific Locks access channel will be thoroughly reviewed and a winner will be determined in the coming weeks.

In a special ceremony, the ACP opened each bid submission (due by 1 p.m. Panama time on Friday). After reviewing them, the proposal that meets all of the project’s criteria and needs, with the best price, will be selected. There were 10 submissions.

“This marks a vital milestone for the historic Canal expansion program. We are one step closer to breaking ground on the expansion of the Panama Canal,” said ACP Board of Directors Chairman and Minister for Canal Affairs Dani Ariel Kuzniecky. “The contracting process is a testament to our commitment of excellence in our procedures for the expansion program.”

On May 7, the ACP released its tender (request for proposal submission) for the first of five dry excavation projects of the new Pacific Locks access channel that will link the new third set of locks on the Pacific end of the Canal with the existing Gaillard Cut (the narrowest stretch in the Panama Canal). This project represents approximately 16 percent of the total excavation for the new Pacific Locks access channel.

The scope of work for the first dry excavation will include the removal of non-classified material, the disposal of excavated material and the construction of new gravel roads and ditches. Site work could begin as early as two weeks after the chosen firm receives confirmation from the ACP and is given the order to proceed.

“Expansion is a significant investment in the future of the Canal, its customers and our primary stakeholders, the Panamanian people. Today’s event is a great step forward as we continually strive to provide better service for our customers,” added Mr. Kuzniecky.

With the recent approval of the environmental impact study (EIS) for the dry excavation project from the Panamanian National Environmental Authority (ANAM), the ACP has the green light to move forward.

“Contractors from Colombia, the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Italy and Panama submitted bids,” said ACP Engineering and Programs Management Director Jorge L. Quijano. “I believe we achieved great competition among very good firms and we look forward to awarding the contract in the coming two weeks so that work can begin soon.”

Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.

About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)
The ACP is the autonomous agency of the government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP’s Web site: For Panama Canal video, please visit